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List of 100 Creative Ways to Excite & Inspire Young Readers

Some children seem to take to reading with no effort, while other children would rather do almost anything than read. If you are a teacher, teacher-in-training, or a parent interested in ways to inspire those reluctant young readers in your life, then this list is sure to offer valuable information for you. From tips for parents and teachers to online resources and books that teach creative tips, there is plenty here that will help you to find creative ways to inspire your young readers.

Tips for Parents

Browse through this list to find out all the fun ways parents can inspire their young readers.

  1. Visit the library regularly. A weekly trip to the library, whether for story time or to select a book to check out, is a great way to establish a reading habit.
  2. Read aloud. Read aloud to your young reader or pre-reader to instill the love of a good story.
  3. Use puppets. Simple sock puppets can do wonders to bring a story to life.
  4. Read with animation. Use different voices or hand and body motions to bring the story to life.
  5. Find books with humor. Books that make children laugh are more engaging, so find books with plenty of humor.
  6. Audio books. Listen to books with your young readers. Hearing a story while in the car or while eating dinner is a great way to inspire young ones to seek out stories.
  7. Support their interests. If you young reader loves cars or ballet, then let him or her select books that will teach them more about their passions.
  8. Beautiful illustrations. Select books with beautiful illustrations to bring the stories to life. Books by Lois Ehlert and Eric Carle are great examples.
  9. Show by example. Let your young readers see you reading. They will learn by the example you set.
  10. Offer books related to travel. If your family is going on a trip, find age-appropriate books about the region to inspire your child for both reading and the vacation.
  11. Provide access. Have books and age-appropriate magazines available for your young readers at all times.
  12. Set a reading routine. Whether you like reading before bed or just after dinner, find areading routine that works for your family and stick with it every day.
  13. Appreciate any reading. If you have a reluctant reader who only wants to read comics, then embrace the reading he does want to do.
  14. Limit media. Television, computer time, and video games can quickly eat up all of a child’s free time. Limit the amount of media you allow your child and you will free up time for reading.

Tips for Teachers

Teachers, try some of these ideas in your classroom to help your young readers get off to a great start.

  1. Integrate non-fiction in the classroom. Read non-fiction, then integrate non-fiction by thinking aloud about what you read, bringing play into what was learned, and making your own non-fiction tools.
  2. Create a special reading place. Have a section of your room devoted only to reading. Make it comfortable and inviting, with plenty of books available.
  3. Invite guest readers. Parents, local authors, or any other interested people make great guest readers that will invite new perspectives on reading. Ask them to bring their favorite book to expand your repertoire.
  4. Use poetry. Children are drawn to poetry, so take advantage of this to use poetry as an inspiration for learning about words and reading.
  5. Read backwards. Select a paragraph and have students read the words from the end of the paragraph to the beginning. This forces them to focus on the words instead of skimming over memorized parts they already know.
  6. Read aloud no matter what age. Reading aloud to older students has benefits too, so don’t let a little thing like age stop you from reading to your students.
  7. Talk about what you read. Reading aloud isn’t enough. Be sure to talk about what you are reading before, during, and after reading.
  8. Offer an author workshop. Visiting authors willing to come into your class for a workshopare an effective way to motive readers.

Online Resources

These online resources are great for teachers and parents. Even better, most of them are free.

  1. Young Readers’ Toolkit. Based on the 2009 National Book Festival, this resource offers activities for students, lists of books to read, and much more.
  2. NCFL Free Resources. The National Center for Family Literacy offers several free resources for educators. These range from early childhood to adult literacy.
  3. Songs for Building Reading & Language Art Skills. This resource offers links to tons of fun ways to use music for promoting reading.
  4. Puppy Readers. These electronic books match music with animation to help children learn to read. Some are available free of charge while others are available for a fee.
  5. PBS Teachers Resources. Select the grade level you want and then select Reading & Language Arts to get a wealth of classroom resources to inspire your young readers.
  6. ReadWriteThink. This site that is all about promoting literacy offers tons of great resources for parents and teachers.
  7. Moving Picture Books. Moving Picture Books combine classic stories with digital media to create a fun reading experience for tech-savvy young readers.
  8. SpellingCity. This online game makes learning and practicing spelling fun.

Writing Activities to Inspire Reading

Writing is an integral part of reading, so try these creative ways to excite your readers.

  1. Make your own ABC books. Have young readers draw each letter and have fun collecting pictures to match the corresponding letter.
  2. Do dot-to-dots. These puzzles help beginning writers draw diagonal lines and other shapes that are more difficult.
  3. Create your own story. After reading a book, have the child make up her own ending or provide a prompt for him to write his own story.
  4. Sensory alphabet. If your young reader is just learning to write, have him draw letters in shaving cream, a plate of sugar, or some other type of medium that has a strong sensory aspect to it.
  5. Make a book log. Have young readers create a reading log including the name of the book, author, and what they liked about the book.
  6. Right writing. Have students write a story on the right side of a spiral notebook and illustrate it on the left side. Then have them read their story to the class with the notebook folded so that the listeners can also view the illustration.
  7. Don’t worry about spelling. Creative spelling is okay in young readers and writers. Allowing them to get their thoughts out and use spelling that feels right for them is an important precursor to better spelling and reading in the future.
  8. Find a pen pal. Having a pen pal with whom to communicate is a strong motivator for both writing and reading.
  9. Write online. There are many opportunities for children and teens to get their writing online–some for children as young as Kindergarten.

Books about Encouraging Reading

Teachers and parents alike will find these books to be a huge help in finding ways to inspire young readers.

  1. The Book Whisperer. Written by a teacher who couldn’t find the perfect book about inspiring young readers, this book does just that.
  2. The Daily Five. This popular book teaches how to easily incorporate the daily five into any teaching curriculum to help strengthen literacy.
  3. The CAFE Book. Written by the authors of The Daily Five, this book is an awesome resource for teachers working with young readers.
  4. How to Get Your Child to Love Reading. Anyone interested in promoting reading will find the highly creative ideas in this book a welcome resource.
  5. The Read-Aloud Handbook. Parents and educators alike will find this book to be a great help in how they can empower young children to be strong readers.
  6. The Gift of Reading. Get great ideas on ways to make your young readers lifelong readers.
  7. Reading Magic. This book describes why it is important for parents to read aloud to their young children and even includes a primer on how to do so.
  8. How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life. This book is all about how families can learn to enjoy reading together.
  9. Literacy Work Stations. Teachers will find practical and easy to implement solutions to making literacy centers work in the classroom.
  10. Reading Together. This book helps parents learn how to inspire a love of reading by reading together with their children.

Websites for Motivating Readers

If your young readers enjoy computer time, find motivation and inspiration for reading among these sites designed to do just that.

  1. Reading Rockets. The US Department of Education hosts this site full of fun activities designed to help emergent and struggling readers.
  2. Leading to Reading. For the youngest readers, this site sponsored by RIF offers activities for preschoolers just learning to read.
  3. Book Adventure. Book Adventure is for kids in grades K-8 and allows readers to create a list of books, then take quizzes and earn points for their progress.
  4. Read.gov. This site is an initiative of The Library of Congress and has activities for both younger and older readers as well as parent- or teacher-guided activities.
  5. ReadKiddoRead.com. In an effort to motivate young readers, James Patterson started this site that includes book recommendations, reading guides, quizzes, and much more.
  6. Bookwink. Students in grades 3-8 can find three-minute videos that change each month about specific books. Be sure to check through the past months’ selections, too.
  7. Click. If you or your school has a subscription to Click Magazine, this site holds lots of great activities to promote reading.

Picture Books and Younger Reader Sites

These sites bring books to life for younger readers and often include some popular favorites.

  1. Clifford Interactive Storybooks. This big red dog is a favorite among the younger set, and the site includes storybooks to keep up with Clifford’s adventures.
  2. Maisy’s Fun Club. Maisy and her friends guide children through games, reading, and other activities here.
  3. Fun with Spot. Eric Hill’s Spot books are featured along with tons of inspirational activities on this site.
  4. Book Pop. Stephen Cosgrove reads stories as children follow along, controlling aspects such as page turning and more.
  5. Little Critter. Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter books are the focus of this site and its accompanying activities.
  6. Children’s Books Online. The antique books featured here are available for young readers and their parents to read together, and some feature audio as well.
  7. Bedtime-Story. Children can hear classic stories read aloud on this site.
  8. Peter Rabbit. This site is great for children, parents, and teachers with activities for all that feature Peter Rabbit and his creator, Beatrix Potter.

Elementary Reader Sites

For those readers with a little more experience under their belts, these sites offer great activities and games to help promote reading.

  1. Kids@Random. Random House posts information on new releases and also provides several mini-sites for specific series such as Dr. Seuss, Junie B. Jones, Little Golden Books, and Magic Tree House.
  2. Seussville. Dr. Seuss fans will have a great time exploring this site that is as fantastical as his books.
  3. Speakaboos. Readers will find fables, popular books, fairy tales, and more brought to life with celebrity readings and dynamic graphics.
  4. The Magic School Bus. Join Ms. Frizzle and her students with the activities here that include science kits, monthly experiments, and more.
  5. Little House Big Adventure. The Little House on the Prairie series is featured here with plenty of inspirational activities and information about the books and the author.
  6. The Rodent’s Gazette. Those who enjoy Geronimo Stilton and his journalistic adventures will have fun visiting this site.
  7. Junie B. Jones. Readers who enjoy Junie B. Jones can see how much they know about this rambunctious young girl with a quiz, then move on to activities and more.
  8. Official Berenstain Bears’ Website. Fans of the Berenstain Bears books can find lots of activities on this site.
  9. Curious George. Teachers might be interested in the “Curiosity Day” resources available at this site and students will enjoy the activities available.
  10. Roald Dahl. Readers can learn about Dahl and his books and participate in fun activities here.
  11. MrsP.com. Kathy Kinney reads children’s classics on this dynamic site.
  12. Simon & Schuster Children’s Books. Discover more about the books published here, including the popular Olivia books and The Spiderwick Chronicles.
  13. Bone. Read about the author of this popular graphic novel, play games, and even participate in discussions here.
  14. Storyline Online. The books here are introduced and read by members of the Screen Actors Guild and provide text for the children to follow along.
  15. Lemony Snicket. Lemony Snicket fans will have fun exploring this creepy website.

Online Libraries and Audio Book Resources

These sites offer free downloadable or online books and audio books, so there is never a reason for a child not to have something to read.

  1. Read Print. The resource offers over 8,000 free books online with many popular authors for readers of any age.
  2. International Children’s Digital Library. This amazing resource offers books for children free of charge with awesome features such as bookmarking and creating a bookshelf.
  3. Project Gutenberg. Perhaps one of the most comprehensive sites, this one offers over 30,000 free books for younger and older readers, many of which are also available as audio books.
  4. Classic Reader. This site has books organized by categories such as “Young Readers” to help find the perfect classic book for your reader.
  5. StoryPlace. Find books for preschool and elementary here and also discover what’s available for bilingual readers.
  6. Page by Page Books. Find books listed alphabetically for lots of great classics.
  7. Storynory. This site offers downloads of free classic children’s literature, fairy tales, and even some original stories.
  8. The Story Home. With new stories added every two weeks and a good assortment of classics, this site has plenty of great books available.
  9. LibriVox. The popular site for audio books provides a ton of great classics.
  10. Light Up Your Brain Free Audio Stories for Kids. This site offers audio books accompanied by text that readers can use to follow along when reading both the classics and original stories here.
  11. Free Classic Audio Books. Find a good selection of children’s classic audio books available on this site.
  12. Wired for Books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Fans of Alice’s adventures can listen to a dramatic reading of this classic here.

Blogs about Children’s Literature

These great blogs feature information on literacy, resources for parents and teachers, and awesome recommendations for books that will spark imagination and joy in young readers.

  1. 5 Great Books. In each post of this blog, five books, organized by theme, that are just right for young readers are featured.
  2. The PlanetEsme Plan: The Best New Children’s Books from Esme’s Shelf. This blog is written by the author of How to Get Your Child Reading (featured in this list above) and offers tons of great information about books that will inspire young readers.
  3. Kid’s Lit. This blog is run by the Menasha Public Library and offers up great new books for younger readers.
  4. Booklights. This PBS Parents blog provides information on literacy as well as suggestions for books.
  5. MotherReader. Mom offers up awesome recommendations for children’s books on her blog.
  6. Picture Book of the Day. Written by a writing teacher, this blog features information on both picture books and accompanying lessons on teaching writing.
  7. Three Silly Chicks. The recommendations here include lots of fun books that are sure to capture children’s attention.
  8. Mo Willems Doodles. All those Mo Willems fans will enjoy this blog that updates readers on the latest about his popular books.
  9. jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. This blog brings food and books together in a way that is just perfect for beginning readers.
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